SC Supreme Court Overturns Homicide Conviction

The South Carolina Supreme Court yesterday overturned the 2001 conviction of Regina McKnight for the homicide by child abuse of her stillborn child. The stillborn baby had tested positive for cocaine.

McKnight will get a new trial because of mistakes made by her attorneys, chiefly concerning the medical evidence introduced in the trial. "Regina McKnight was convicted on junk science and was not fairly represented at trial," Lynn Paltrow, executive director of National Advocates for Pregnant Women, told Myrtle Beach Online. Lawyers for McKnight did not dispute the prosecution’s medical expert and did not include the autopsy of the baby as evidence in the trial.

Susan Dunn, one of the attorneys representing McKnight, said that the South Carolina Supreme Court’s opinion "acknowledges that current research simply
does not support the assumption that prenatal exposure to cocaine
results in harm to the fetus, and the opinion makes clear that it is
certainly no more harmful to a fetus than nicotine use, poor nutrition,
lack of prenatal care, or other conditions commonly associated with the
urban poor."


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